When I was nine my parents brought home an oboe. I knew what it was, since both my parents played in an orchestra and music was a big deal in our family. They borrowed the oboe from their orchestra for a week to see if I liked it or not.
I held the black wooden instrument in my hands, took a deep breath, blew on the reed and to everyone’s surprise I produced a sound. Not half bad for a first time. Hardly anyone manages that! It looked like a perfect match.
So I took lessons and joined the local youth orchestra. Only two other girls played oboe in my village back then, I was the youngest. We all played in the same wind orchestra.
I managed to learn the basics rather quickly. First in Emmen, since there was no teacher at the local music school. Later the three of us took lessons with a wonderful lady that came to our village and who often arranged for group lessons.
I loved playing together, but I never cared much for practicing. When the two older girls left after graduating high school, I was the only one left in the village to play oboe. It diminished my love for playing and practicing even further, but my teacher accepted it and made lessons a fun half hour by playing challenging duets together.
When I was about sixteen I was selected to become the first oboist in a regional orchestra, the Drents Jeugdorkest. Three years I played there. I even managed to keep playing there the first year I was at university. Once a month on Saturday I would travel to remote places in the province Drenthe to rehearse and give concerts with this wonderful group of people. In the end it was the only practice I got every month and I couldn’t keep up with the level of the group. I said goodbye to the orchestra after a summer tour in Rostock.
Only two times after that, during summer projects abroad when I filled a gap in my parent’s orchestra as a second oboist, I rehearsed and played. For the last, six?, years my oboe was just lying around the house, untouched.
Two weeks ago I started practicing again for a reunion concert by that youth orchestra I have such warm memories of. While practicing I noticed that the joy I once had in playing oboe, died since the last time I picked up the instrument. Last week I decided that this reunion concert would be the last one with my oboe. I’m done with it and will sell the oboe my parents gave to me. I’ll pass it on to someone who loves and needs it.
With a very loud concert I payed a worthy tribute to myself and my oboe. A pair you will never see again on stage. My sore lips are proof of my effort. After 22 years I’m done with it and I’m looking forward to challenge myself and start learning something else for the next 20 odd years.